A bit more on the website:
The essential setup of the site (currently, as there have been some updates over the years) is to give the comic strip creator (locally called a stripper
) the option of choosing one, two, or three panels to work with, and in each panel to add characters, backgrounds, and speech or thought bubbles.
The stripper can place one character on the left and one character on the right. There are several hundred "characters" (including things called "props" which can be put into the character slots, such as an empty birdcage
, pile of ash
, stream of water
(which corresponds to the position of a firehose
-wielding character, but can in practice be applied to anything). Virtually all characters appear in mirrored left-facing and right-facing pairs, so the character can be made to face the other with whom he is conversing, or face away from them. In a multi-panel strip, the illusion of movement can be created by having characters facing each other in one panel and away from each other on switched sides in the second, as if one had walked past the other. By my count, there are nearly 400 options for filling each character slot (as well as, naturally, the option to have no character on one side or the other, or eve no character at all appearing in the panel). For a number of popular characters, variations of the same character exist, so that one might be smiling in the first panel, pointing (or holding a bloodied weapon) in the second, and frowning in the third.
Most of the characters are simultaneously generic and original -- beatniks, bums, vampires, office workers. Some of the characters have an informed resemblance to fictional figures which which one might be familiar -- there are for example a rabbit, pig, and a duck with bearings at least superficially reminiscent of Bugs Bunny
and Daffy Duck
; a group of spacefarers comes clad in eyebrow-raising red, blue, and gold tunics (the blue-clad figure has pointed ears and in one pose holds a device which looks to be scanning for signs of life; the gold-clad figure can come with or without a familiar ray-gun). Naturally, there are illustrations of God
, and Abe Vigoda
available to use. These are often terribly abused.
In addition to the characters, there are an array of backgrounds -- a total of 152, by my count (including the null set
, i.e. no background at all) -- some crudely drawn and some elaborate, some even being actual snippets of photographs. Some backgrounds come in distinct sets, such as an "office" set with depictions of various typical office-building rooms having the same feel to them. Some of the sets seem attuned to specific characters -- a spaceship bridge for the spacefaring characters, the aforementioned office setting for a collection of "office" type characters. One clever background is simply a line-divider, which can make a three-panel strip look like a strip of six mini-panels.
There are several options for speech. Each character (including the props) gets a speech area of up to 200 characters; the area can be either a "speech bubble" or a "thought bubble" (the only difference being that a though bubble has circles leading up to it to imply thought). There is additionally an option to put a few lines of narration (again up to 200 characters) on a yellow box atop the page. One occasionally plumbed option is to pick an all-black background, and put the speech bubbles there without characters, to imply characters speaking while obscured by darkness.
Interestingly, there is no forced line breaking, so if a speech bubble is filled with unspaced characters, the entire panel is widened to the width of the bubble. The absolute variation of strips ranges from this, the null set, a blank strip with no characters, background, or text
, to this strip with every speech bubble filled to capacity with non-breaking text
As a new participant in the stripper community, I find some immediate similarities with E2 -- the camaraderie, the archetypic teasing, the snap competitions for the creation of content to fit a declared theme. Amusingly, I was quickly "identified" as an alt of an existing stripper
with a similar stripping style (which, naturally, became the subject of several strips). I wonder if the Stripcreator community is in a similar phase of decline from an ancient period of intensely greater participation. But at the end of the day it seems that there is a hardy core which will never abandon the community, so we can count on its being around for as long as somebody pays the bills to keep the lights on.